MILTON — Following recent vandalism to the new lighting on the Downtown Milton Riverwalk, it's no surprise local leaders are frustrated over destruction of the public area.

City Manager Randy Jorgenson called the incident "a shameful act."

“This is not just an act of vandalism for the city," he said. "This is our community being vandalized."

Jorgenson said the lighting project was just days away from completion when the incident occurred. To help improve security, Jorgenson said the city would be installing cameras on the Riverwalk that would be monitored internally. It will also be installing conduits to help keep the lighting safe from further vandalism.

Police Chief Tony Tindell said it was a personal sadness for him to see the vandalism because he enjoyed seeing the beautification project that was being done downtown. 

"The city has been working hard to improve that area," he said. "They spent a lot of money on that project." 

Tindell said he enjoys walking downtown during the holiday season when the Riverwalk is lit up. He said he was looking forward to seeing the lights at night year round.

City Councilman Jeff Snow said the vandalism would not deter them from their mission of moving Milton forward and improving the city's beauty.

"The city of Milton has so many great things happening, it is unfortunate that individuals decided to do this damage to our Riverwalk," Snow said. "It is another great project for our citizens to enjoy, and it will be back on track very soon."

Residents of Milton took to Facebook with comments to voice their disappointment and anger over the incident. Milton resident Mary Jane Pitts said she was disappointed that someone would be "so hateful to destroy something that so many people find beautiful." Resident Sharon Sanders said it was a shame that there are those who feel the need to destroy the community and Riverwalk area.

The Milton Police Department continues to investigate the incident. Anyone with information should contact the Milton Police Department at 850-983-5420 or call Crime Stoppers at 850-437-STOP. A reward of up to $3,000 is offered to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.